How to teach urban students?

By Paul Silli

First… Be patient. Teaching at an urban school is challenging. You will have many wonderful diverse students who come from different cultural backgrounds.

I once had 45-students in one of my social studies classes. It was so crowded students were sitting on the floor because we ran out of desks. My school also did not have enough textbooks for each student. It was difficult for near four weeks. I learned quickly I needed to be patient. I decided to create an informal “survey” which examined what students found interesting. I remembered many of the facts from the survey and connected activities to my students interests. Knowing my learners and using a lot of humor in lessons helped me establish a fun, positive learning environment.

It is also important to develop a relationship with parents. I created a weekly class newsletter to improve communication. It informed parents about upcoming homework, cultural projects and tests. If you can get your parents onboard — success will follow.

To learn what my students knew about the subjects I developed a “pre & post test.” This offered vital information that I analyzed to improve my teaching practice. I adjusted lessons to meet the needs of my learners and worked hard to only “test what I taught.” It is essential to give a lot of one-on-one instruction as well.

Lastly, if you are having ongoing discipline issues with a student — do not hesitate to ask your fellow teachers to schedule a: “group teacher-parent meeting.” It is best to have the child present during the meeting so he or she can interact with the teachers.  You should be firm but fair with your kids. You “cannot bluff” if you are going to reward or discipline students. →For example, if you tell a class they will earn a pizza party if they perform well on a test you MUST give them that party. On the other hand, if a student is acting inappropriately and you tell him he is “forcing you” to give him a detention… you must stand by your words. Remember, students are constantly evaluating how you handle situations. It is important to be upfront, friendly and fair.  If you do this you should earn respect by showing your students you care about them.

Final thought: Be passionate about teaching. If you are excited about a subject your students will be to. 😉

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One Response to “How to teach urban students?”

  1. Cathy Peale Says:

    Cool blog. Love your thoughts and views.


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